Joan Viteri Memorial Clinic (JVMC) is a student-run clinic that targets intravenous drug users and sex workers in Sacramento. The clinic, run out of Harm Reduction Services of Sacramento, is outfitted with eight patient examination rooms and a dispensary. Since most of the patients seen at JVMC do not have health insurance, their high risk behavior often lands them in local emergency rooms. JVMC acts as an intervention service, reaching out to patients before their conditions drain limited ER resources, pose a public health hazard, or become fatal to the patient.
We listen to our patients and work with them, on their own terms, on ways to improve their health in light of their high risk behaviors. Students learn how to interact with a neglected and underserved patient population, who are often mistrusting of health care professionals. We rely solely on grants anddonations to operate. The care that we provide comes completely free of charge. Our most important resource for patient care is our volunteers.
The primary goal of JVMC is to serve the health care needs of uninsured drug users, sex workers and their families. This includes helping them address their addiction issues according to the principles ofharm reduction. We seek to provide basic medical care and health care education in a non-judgmental and easily accessible manner. JVMC serves as a practical classroom for future health care professionals. JVMC is staffed by medical students from the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine. Students provide medical care under the supervision of an attending physician.
Because of the isolated nature of the population that it serves, JVMC is well-positioned to collect and present unique information to the public and scientific communities. Patients who are treated at JVMC are requested to consent to the anonymous use of their medical records so that analysis can be performed on patient demographics, epidemiology and cost-of-care data.
What is Harm Reduction?
Harm reduction is a philosophy that operates from a basis of non-judgmental, client-centered services. The client is given the options and encouraged toward whatever goal she or he is able to pursue, from immediate health and safety concerns to larger life changes such as moderation or abstinence.
Organizations such as ours that are based on the principal of harm reduction act as advocates for their clients, and support them toward treatment. They also work toward the health of the community by advocating prevention and educating both users and the non-using public.
The Joan Viteri Memorial Clinic is an independent, self-funded, self-managed organization run by students at University of California, Davis School of Medicine with the volunteer support of community physicians. JVMC is one of seven student-run clinics affiliated with UC Davis SOM.
Harm Reduction Services of Sacramento (HRS) is a community service organization that works with injection drug users and other high-risk individuals in order to reduce the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases and promote increased quality of life and health among the IV-drug user community of Sacramento. HRS assists JVMC with community outreach, mobile clinic location choices, policy and practical advice, and education and counseling services. HRS personnel volunteer their time with JVMC and donate the use of facilities and equipment.